SOS Children's Village - A Humbling Experience

My friends - Ashish, Shweta, Shashank and Resha suggested to me that we begin the new year with a visit to SOS Children's Village at Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore. SOS is basically a non-profit organization committed to helping children in need. I had heard much about the place and was longing to visit it, so I jumped at the idea. I can summarize the experience in one word - humbling.

We reached the place around 1 pm. What struck me immediately about this place was that it seemed so much more peaceful than its surroundings (Bannerghatta Road is as far from "peace" as is possible). We were shown around the village by a gentleman who doubles up as the escort. We were bombarding the escort with questions regarding the foundation, its goals and its functioning all the time. This was the first time I was visiting an orphanage, and frankly, I had no idea what to expect. Srijith, the escort, told us that the village has 16 houses, each with 8-12 children and at present, there are 150+ children. Each house has a "mother", and children across all age groups. We visited 2 of the houses and met with the children. The women apparently undergo 5 years of training before they take over as mothers in the villages.

The experience inside the houses was the highlight of the visit for me. It felt so good to see the cheerful faces of children whom fate had dealt such a cruel blow. They mingled so well with us. The younger children were very excited to have visitors. They showed us around the house, jumping and dancing around all the while. The kids attend schools, music classes, dance classes, sports and what not. The sponsorship model is such that each individual or corporate contributor sponsors one particular child. Contributions need not be monetary - there are people who volunteer for activities like teaching during weekends and the like.

We had been told that the main objectives of the SOS village were that the children should never feel they are orphaned, they should be able to live a normal life, just like any other child, that they should grow up to be responsible citizens of the nation. We got to see this first-hand. The feeling of oneness among the kids is evident. They really do live like a family of brothers and sisters. We also met one girl, a former resident of SOS Village, who has now secured a job! One feels so happy hearing such encouraging news.

After spending more than an hour with the kids, and clicking a few snaps, it was time to say goodbye. As I came out of the gates, my mind was a mix of emotions. At first, I felt sad and sorry for the children, for they have been through lot of grief and sorrow at such a young age; but then I felt happy that there are people who care. People who have dedicated their entire lives for the sake of such children. What a way to start a new year! Special thanks to my friend who introduced me to such a place.

SOS Children's Village deserves to be commended for this exemplary show of humanity and brotherhood, at such a large scale. The thousands of selfless volunteers and teachers deserve all the respect one can give. Hats off to SOS, hats off to all those volunteers. I shall consider myself a worthy citizen if I can emulate even a fraction of what they have done.

Signing off on a hopeful note - Hoping for a continued bright future for all underprivileged children.

1 comment to SOS Children's Village - A Humbling Experience

  • hi Kiran.
    good to know that you had a great start to the new year. Bugger, youshould have dropped in home. Its so close to that place.
    Anyway, about photographs I suggest you upload them on flickr and link it in your blogs. Helps people to view it in a bigger size after they are done with reading the blog

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